April 1, 2021

Adventures in Cooking With Hopniss

Several months ago, I shared my very first hopniss harvest with you. Hopniss (Apios americana) are commonly called ground nuts, but since peanuts are called ground nuts too, I like using the more distinctive name. You can check out that post to learn more about them. In this post, I'me going to share the ways I've tried to cook them.

My first try at cooking them was to roast them.

Photo from my first hopniss post.

However, we found them to be too dry to enjoy this way. So the next time, I peeled and boiled them like potatoes. 

Boiled hopniss, home-harvested chevon,
and last summer's canned green beans.

This was delicious with a little salt and butter! I had plenty leftover, so a couple of days later I reheated them, mashed them, and served them like mashed potatoes with bone broth gravy. Also delicious.

Mashed hopniss with gravy, last spring's frozen snow peas & pork chops.

My last experiment was hopniss flour. According to Native American Food Plants: An Ethnobotanical Dictionary, Delaware and Mohegan Native Americans made flour from hopniss. I wanted to try this too and followed the directions at Hank Shaw's website.

Roughly peeled, sliced, and dehydrated.

I added the extra step of peeling (albeit not perfectly) for this first try. Once the slices were crispy dry, I powdered them in my blender. 

Hopniss flour

I wanted to try this as a gravy thickener. You know, something homegrown to use instead of corn starch, unbleached flour, or arrowroot powder. 

I used 1 tbsp hopniss flour per 1 cup bone broth.

I brought it to a boil and simmered for about 5 minutes, but it never really thickened like I was hoping. Still, it was very tasty, so not a fail.  

Hopniss gravy on baked potato, leftover Christmas turkey,
and steamed garden and foraged greens with onion & carrot.

When I put up the leftover gravy after dinner, I noticed the hopniss had settled to the bottom of the pot. The actual texture was more like grits than flour, so that may have been part of the problem. I'm guessing my blender simple doesn't have what it takes to powder those rock hard hopniss chunks. It still has a good flavor, so perhaps hopniss grits could be a side dish all their own.

My conclusion is that hopniss is an easy addition to the perennial garden and a delicious addition to the menu. 


daisy g said...

You are so adventurous! Glad you found some tasty ways to use it.

Ed said...

My wife can take an ingredient like that an experiment with it turning out good dishes. I'm a recipe man and I can't deviate much beyond that. But I like reading about others adventures in cooking in case they create a recipe I can follow.

Cockeyed Jo said...

Great experiments.

Leigh said...

Daisy, thank you! I know you're vegan, so considering the photos, I appreciate your graciousness. :)

Ed, different styles, eh? Both are are good! Fortunately, Dan's pretty easy to please, so that helps, since not everything turns out as hoped for.

Jo, thanks!

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :)) Oh those hopniss look great as mashed taters!!! I've never heard of them, I don't think I'd be adventurous enough to eat them though! :)

wyomingheart said...

That Hopniss is really amazing! Your dinners look yummy as well! I must admit, I would like try them at some point, so I am very glad you posted about them, so I can look them up later!
Is this a keeper for you? Have a perfect Easter, Leigh, and all my best to Dan, as well!

Leigh said...

Rain, they are just as delicious as they look! :) We were curious about how they'd taste at first, but discovered a great new starchy vegetable! They're higher in protein than potatoes too.

Wyomingheart, yes, this is definitely a keeper for us. They are perennial, which makes them all the easier. They vine, so they need support, and they develop larger tubers in loose sandy soil. So, I'd absolutely recommend them and make those two suggestions for success.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Butter and salt. The primary ingredient of Bashed Neeps (Scottish for Mashed Turnips). They make everything better.

Leigh said...

TB, the simplest seasonings always seem to be the best. Have to say I love mashed turnips too. :)

Renee Nefe said...

I've never heard of those. They look very yummy. I hope they store well for you. :D

Leigh said...

Renee, so far so good! :)